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Long-standing Grantham business owner vacates Westgate premises and fears for the future of the town centre

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A long-standing independent business vacated its town centre premises last month.

Clifford Freeman, owner of Castlegate Clocks, which was based in Westgate, Grantham, took the decision to close the shop and work on select repairs from home.

The 74-year-old expressed concerns over the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic and the impending one-way system in Grantham would have on footfall in the town centre, especially on Westgate.

Clifford Freeman. (53928816)
Clifford Freeman. (53928816)

Clifford said: “When my lease expired, we had the opportunity about six months ago to come out of the shop or stay on.

"The town has altered quite considerably I think over the last year. Footfall on Westgate has dropped remarkably.

"All in all, we decided that what we would do is shut the shop, which we have done now."

Castlegate Clocks has vacated 82 Westgate. Image via Google Streetview (53928809)
Castlegate Clocks has vacated 82 Westgate. Image via Google Streetview (53928809)

Clifford has been trading in Grantham for over two decades, and had been in the Westgate shop for over nine years.

He continued: “I’ve moved the workshop, so I’m carrying on with that side of the business but the actual shop is shut and we are giving it up on December 4.

“We were open three days a week until October and it was an enormous task to clear out, we had a huge stock which had to be disposed of. I kept a lot of it, but big items have gone.

“Originally, which is why it’s called Castlegate Clocks, we did have a house on Castlegate. We had one of those tall townhouses opposite the conservative club, it was quite good, then we bought a house at Fircroft.

“It was nice because I had a workshop that was on a stage almost out on the river. It was terrific. I had a lot of work down there, but I got lonely.

Over his nine years of trade on Westgate, Clifford highlighted difficulties, such as the removal of car parking at the Market Place and the lack of loading bays available to businesses on Westgate, especially for those with large items who could not load directly outside their shop.

He added: "The impending High Street one way scheme and lack of parking in the town will decimate footfall I think so small businesses will suffer."

Clifford explained that he had been fixing clocks for "a long, long while".

He continued: "I’m a freeman of a clockmakers company and a freeman of the city of London.

“I was a design engineer, I had a wonderful apprenticeship and clocks became a hobby. It just blossomed from there really.

“We were well known around the town. I take in work from completely across the country and abroad because of some of the skills I have.

“What I’m doing now is taking on more select work than I used to, catering to simple stuff.

“I wouldn’t say it’s exactly a hobby. It’s something that I thoroughly enjoy doing and I don’t see that coming to a stop, but it’s a business."

Clifford is still taking select work via his website or on the phone. Find out more at: http://www.castlegateclocks.co.uk

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